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Sunday 21 September 2014

Doolin rues lack of Irish pot luck for qualifiers

Published 06/12/2012 | 05:00

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Ireland U-19 manager Paul Doolin is disappointed that Ireland have missed out on hosting the elite stage of his team's qualifiers for next year's European Championships.

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Ireland have been drawn in a four-team group with Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland, with the winners qualifying for the finals in Lithuania next summer.

However, both the FAI and the Serbian FA wanted to host June's round-robin competition. It could only be solved by a name being drawn out of a hat and it proved to be the Serbs', so Doolin will have to take his side to Belgrade.

"I really wanted to have it at home," said Doolin. "Belgrade in June will be hot, but at least it's the end of the season and we will be able to call on all our players." Serbia are a quality side at underage level and received a bye to this stage on account of their co-efficient.

The Irish U-17 team will also encounter their Serbian counterparts in the elite phase. Tom Mohan's charges will also battle it out with Georgia and Austria, who will host the mini tournament next March that will culminate with one team booking a place in the finals in Slovakia in May.

"It is never going to be easy at this stage of the competition and Serbia will be very strong," said Mohan.

"They actually beat us at this stage of last year's competition. Georgia were in last year's U-17 finals and actually got the to semi-finals and while I don't know a lot about Austria, at this stage, they'll have the advantage of playing at home."

Meanwhile, the preliminary draw also took place for the qualifying stage of the 2013/14 competitions.

Ireland will meet England at U-17 level in a group that also includes Gibraltar and Armenia. The U-19s encounter Bosnia, Azerbaijan and Sweden.

UEFA U-19 European Championships

2012-13 Elite Round – Group 2

Serbia, Rep of Ireland, Slovakia, Switzerland.

Hosts: Serbia

Match Schedule

June 6: Rep of Ireland v Switzerland

June 8: Rep of Ireland v Slovakia

June 11: Rep of Ireland v Serbia

UEFA U-17 European Championships

2012-13 Elite Round – Group 2

Serbia, Rep of Ireland, Georgia, Austria.

Hosts: Austria

Match Schedule

March 25: Republic of Ireland v Austria

March 27: Republic of Ireland v Georgia

March 30: Republic of Ireland v Serbia

Irish Independent

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